Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Miami Heat know they will have to retool their lineup if they want to make a serious run at a three-peat next season. Part of that retooling will include adding a player or two, but also keeping a key cog in this year’s run, center Chris Andersen.
The Birdman, as he’s affectionately known, became a member of the Heat in January on a 10-day contract. After his second 10-day contract ended, the Heat decided to sign him for the rest of the season and it paid off in a big way.
Andersen’s energy, rebounding, and dunking all helped the Heat run off 27-straight victories in the second-half of the season and was a key contributor throughout the playoff run to the team’s second straight NBA championship.
The Heat would like to keep Andersen around, but the question will be at what price. For his part, Andersen wants to remain a member of the Heat, according to a report from Fox Sports Florida.
“He put it clearly,” his agent Mark Bryant told Fox Sports Florida, “The Heat gave him an opportunity and he absolutely wants to come back.”
The problem for the Heat is how much to pay Andersen. If Andersen was willing to play for the veteran minimum, it would allow the Heat much more flexibility in free agency. However, if Andersen wants more than the minimum, the Heat’s only option would be the mini-mid-level exception contract.
On the other hand, keeping Andersen at the minimum would allow the Heat to pursue another free agent with the mini-MLE like it did with Ray Allen last season and Shane Battier in 2011.